Thursday, May 4, 2017

Beloved and Invisible Man

In Beloved, Toni Morrison sends a message to the African-American community to not allow the events of the past to restrict their future. Beloved's character represents a collective past of the "60 million plus more" that have suffered through the inhumane treatment in slavery. In my independent study book, Invisible Man, it seems that the narrator's struggle to achieve a bright future is not under his own control. It is not as simple as avoiding the past. Everywhere the narrator turns it seems that whites are still looking to take advantage of him. He is taken advantage of by being having to partake in a Battle Royal where he fights other black men for a chance to win money and give his speech to earn a scholarship. He ends up being able to give his speech, but the white men do not listen unless it is to correct him on belief in equality. Throughout the novel, the author Ralph Ellison makes it clear that whites view the blacks as more of a tool than human beings. Morrison also portrays this viewpoint when schoolteacher and the other white men witness the infanticide, instead of thinking of the horror of killing a child, they think of their "damaged property." Sethe never truly plans for a future, until she sheds the events of her past. In Invisible Man, the narrator is fighting more than just his past, but the power of the whites. Ellison focuses more on a general, national level of success, while Morrison portrays success on more of a personal level.

A reflection on the year

Overall, I really enjoyed this course. The novels we read were interesting and I feel like I will remember them for a long time. My favorites were Unbearable Lightness and Dante's Inferno. ULOB really made you think about the person you are. Dante was cool to read because it included bad people of his time. I also liked being able to create my own Hell. Of course, I can't forget HamLIT and "I am slain." I also can't forget about INCEST!!!! Not many of the books we read 2nd semester had any incest, which is kind of disappointing. And then there is, of course, art. I have actually seen some of the art we studied out in the real world. My favorite is the one that looks like Nicki Minaj and "Persistence of Memory." I'm sure there is some things I am forgetting (like Santa Pants). I'm going to miss our stressed-out study sessions at Joseph's house with meatballs. Cant wait to go to Bay St. Louis with y'all! Thank you Ms. King and Mrs. Quinet!

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

chromatic abstraction

Personally, I am not a fan of artists such as Mark Rothko and Barnett Newman. For example, Rothko's Green and Maroon is just two solid colors and a small stripe in between. As a viewer of this art, I get no satisfaction or deeper meaning that I feel inclined to interpret in order to enjoy the piece. The hues in this piece are intended to bring the shapes to life, but in an art exhibit, I probably not look at this piece for more that a few seconds, if that. Barnett Newman also operates his works in this way. For example, his Vir Heroicus Sublimis is a red hue with a few interrupting lines called zips in there. I do not see the creative expression and artistic ability required for these works, even if they are statements in order to stretch the definitions of art.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Earth Art

I think earth art was extremely interesting. Earth art was a unique and unconventional form of displaying art in a natural setting. Smith son and Guillbon both use landscapes, rocks, and environmental aspects to display art in outdoor settings.

Did R+G have a choice?

Not only can we ask ourselves this question about Rosencrantz and Guildenstern's role in the failed trap against Hamlet that leads to their death, but it is also a question that they ask themselves multiple times. For instance, after they realize that they are on the boat heading to their death, they debate if they ever had a choice not to follow the messenger's call. They conclude that there must have been a moment when they could have said no. Even when they are on the boat, they could have left and fled, but instead they carry out the modified letter, even though it announces their death. Rosencrantz still cannot make his own decision and simply lets fate guide them, regardless of if he will die or not. Therefore, they had a choice, but their choices would not have changed anything because they still must follow the script of Hamlet.

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern: Movie version

The actual act of watching the play made it a lot less confusing for me. Because it is a play, it is meant to be seen, not to be just read. The movie seemed to add more aspects of scientific inquisition, such as the hanging pots as Newton's cradle and an apple falling from a tree. I think that this added to the visual sense of how Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are lost and try to find meaning and direction in their lives. Another interesting aspect in the movie version are the papers blowing across many scenes. The papers represent the script, but it could be either the script of Hamlet or of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead. I think it makes more sense that it would be the script of Hamlet, because Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are obviously restricted by the original script of Shakespeare's play.

Friday, April 28, 2017

R & G

I thought Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead was very interesting, and very different from any play I've ever read. Before reading the play I was curious as to how a whole play was written based off of two extremely minor characters from another play. Stoppard masterfully structured the play to portray the two characters who exist simply through what is written about them in Hamlet. Overall, it is an interesting and effective way to comment on existentialism by Stoppard. R & G spend the whole play searching for meaning which they never find. Stoppard seems to also be saying that humans push forward to death, trying to give themselves meaning before it comes, but do have no right to be afraid of death, as no living person knows what it entails.